With the first day of racing in Round 2 of the SSL Gold Cup 2022 Qualifying Series complete, SSL Team Slovenia sit top of the table, having edged out a narrow advantage over their Group 3 rivals, SSL Team Lithuania and SSL Team Ecuador..
Despite setting the early pace in Race 1, SSL Team Lithuania’s ‘Ambers’ ended up crossing the finish line in 3 rd and last place. “Race 1 went very well for us”, told Rokas Milevicius (SSL Team Lithuania’s tactician). “We won the start and we were leading the first half of the race. Ecuador actually had a great angle at Gate 2. We rounded the gate altogether and we just had a bad maneuver and tacked in a rush. The sheet didn’t go well in the winch, and that cost us the whole positioning in the fleet. We were late into the tack and we had to fight for the free wind and couldn’t react into the wind shifts and that cost us the first place.”
In Race 2 they again had the fastest start, but this time they held their lead all the way to the finish line, sailing clean and fast. “It was an even start, we then kept our side and were the first to read the left shift and got us to the top mark first. We then let the other two teams fight and extended our lead”, concluded Rokas Milevicius.
Although the Slovenian boat ‘ Krpani1860 ‘ (named after their national mythical figure) took maximum points in the first race, they only just managed to secure second place in Race 2 after a tense battle with group underdogs, SSL Team Ecuador.
The contest for this potentially crucial 2 nd place was decided only in the final leg when Slovenia, captained by Vasilij Zbogar, Finn and Laser Olympic Silver and Bronze medallist, gybed in front of “La Tri”, led by Julio Vélez who, despite coming back very strong at Mark 3, had to bow down. “We had a nice battle with the other teams, especially with SSL Team Ecuador” , told Igor Lah (Slovenia’s helm). “In the last downwind of the last race. It is always a challenge when you have someone chasing you from behind, you have to keep an eye on them especially on the gybes, so it was a little bit stressful”.
For SSL Team Ecuador’s helm Jonathan Martinetti it was challenging but interesting day. “The day was great, we had two good race, it was the first time for our team racing on the SSL47, the boats were all very close and the last race we finished third but only a boat length from the second. We are pretty happy with our performance and we’ll hopefully keep on going and gain some places.”
With just 2 points difference between Slovenia (5 points) and Ecuador (3 points), everything is still possible in this reduced three-team Group 3.
DID YOU KNOW?
Sailing has its own World Cup, finally! Like football in 1930 and rugby in 1987, the SSL Gold Cup is designed to crown the best sailing nation of all! The World’s Top 56 countries, selected on their SSL Nation ranking, will battle their way through to raise the coveted and only Sailing World Cup trophy.
The SSL Gold Cup 2022 started on May 19th with the Qualifying Series in Grandson, Lake Neuchatel (Switzerland). All teams ranked from the Top 25 to 56 in the SSL Nations Ranking (based on January 2022’s will meet in eight groups of four teams each. There will be five stages, or rounds, until July 17th.
O nly the top two teams of each group will go through to the Final Series that will take place from October 28th to November 20th, 2022, in Bahrain.